Advent Day 15: Cords that connect heaven and earth

A multi-talented designer has transformed the outside of a church with a stunning interactive art installation.

The thought-provoking work by Jennifer Sturrock at Liberton Northfield Church, Edinburgh, seeks to illustrate the connections between people and their link to the divine.

Attie-Sturrock.j
Multidisciplinary artist, designer and educator, Jennifer Sturrock, and Rev Attie van Wyk outside Liberton Northfield Church, Edinburgh.

Entitled “Deeply Woven”, it is comprised of 2,300 feet of white bungee cord strands fastened to the exterior wall of the building, which dates back to 1868, and anchored to the ground.

One cord is red, a symbol of Jesus Christ’s enduring and unwavering love for all humanity.

Part of the congregation’s Connecting Christmas initiative, the exhibit is showcased by red and purple atmospheric lighting and features a QR code that members of the public are invited to scan with their smart phones to enable them to interact and share their thoughts.

It is hoped that it will inspire visitors and help to counter feelings of isolation and loneliness that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The exhibition is Miss Sturrock’s first in Scotland; until recently she worked as the senior producer of residencies at the Victoria & Albert museum in London – the world's leading museum of art, design and performance.

For the world

The 32-year-old multidisciplinary artist, designer and educator, said “My hopes for the exhibit are that it will spark curiosity in people who would not ordinarily step through the door of a church or even think about a spiritual element to the season of Advent.”

Miss Sturrock added: “In a time of global isolation and disconnection experienced by so many during the pandemic, I wanted to explore the idea of interwoven textures and underlying fabric of community that still holds true, despite the outer circumstances.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the nature of thread and fibre and its ability to articulate that process of weaving and integration.

“A bit like light itself - vibrational waves or strands that continually manifest invisible matter into tangible, visible substance - grounding us to ourselves, the earth and each other.”

Jennifer-Sturrock
Jennifer Sturrock

Connected with Jesus

Miss Sturrock, who has a master’s degree in The Idea of Beauty - Theology and the Arts from King’s College London, said the exhibit seeks to create space for questions and words of hope.

“We invite people to share messages that allow us to connect to each other at a time when we cannot easily meet or travel due to the pandemic restrictions,” she added.

“Send us your messages - prose, prayers, poems or pictures - and we will post them online.

“They can be for friends and family in our local communities, across the city or for the world - we welcome all.”

Miss Sturrock collaborated with Liberton Northfield Church minister, Rev Attie van Wyk, who took up his role in April this year.

He said: “It is a wonderful installation and my hope is that passers-by will stop and use their phones to scan the QR code to learn about its meaning and engage.

“Although the church has not been used as normal this year due to the pandemic, the exhibition helps people connect with each other and Christ this Advent season.”

The installation is on display until the 3rd of January and floodlit between 4pm-10pm, Monday to Sunday.

A company called Studiotech provided the LED lighting.

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